Sometimes my heart contracts and closes. I picture a hollow metal sphere divided into segments. Sometimes it opens like the petals of a flower.
My being is designed to find the things that give it nourishment, pleasure, wellbeing. Having located them – grasp for more of them. Meanwhile ignoring or rejecting sources of pain.
Opening myself up to be vulnerable to the pain of rejection or failure or shame actually is an experience that brings me great nourishment for the soul. To risk and be vulnerable is truly exhilarating. To connect with someone completely and be present for them is like peeling off my skin and letting the wind hurt the raw sensitivity underneath. The risk of such pain or rather the risk of really really feeling any pain is high. The thing that changes is my ability to feel. Then I realise that so much of the time I have chosen to not feel.
When I close down it can happen like a gradual grinding of rock slowly eroding definition of the world to a Henry Moore esque view of life. Rounded pebbles where there were sharp defined edges, missing details and the uniqueness that every thing and moment possesses. Or, my heart can snap shut, fast and reactive, closed against the possibility of hurt, reacting to anger or threat or rejection.
But the very act of closing withers my soul. The mistaken act of keeping out threat hurts. Each tiny closing of my heart twists an exquisite pain into my psyche, a snapping shut hurts so much that I just go numb. Too much pain to bear too fast.
I repeat the closing despite the hurt. My psychological reflexes shut my heart fast to keep out the pain.
Sensations keep me alive, but I shut them out. Closing down is like poison but I keep drinking it. When something makes me shut down I think I am frightened of pain. But actually I am frightened of being alive.